BMW Team Schnitzer’s M3 GTs placed fourth and sixth in the GTE Pro class in the six-hour Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Race at Silverstone in the UK. The AF Corse Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni won the race.
Team Schnitzer’s finish, the first off the podium this season, widens second-place BMW’s gap to first place Ferrari in the ILMC GTE class standings.
The BMWs were fast in qualifying at Silverstone, with Augusto Farfus taking the pole in the #55 car that he shared with Jörg Müller, and Andy Priaulx taking second in the #56 M3 that he shared with Uwe Alzen.
The BMWs led at the beginning of the race, but fell back within the first half hour as they struggled with grip. The Dunlops that have performed so well on the M3s this season apparently did not like the cool conditions at Silverstone. (Text continues after photo)
In addition to the problem with tires, Farfus was cut off from the rest of the GTE pack when he got stuck behind a pace car, and Priaulx had to make an unscheduled stop (reason unknown). Over the course of the race the BMWs recovered momentum, but they were not able to catch the class leaders. In the end, Priaulx and Alzen finished fourth behind the Fisichella/Bruni Ferrari 458, another Ferrari 458 driven by Stephane Ortelli/Frederick Makowiecki, and the Porsche of Marc Lieb/Richard Lietz. The Farfus/ Müller M3 was sixth in class at the end.
The overall win went to the Peugeot 908 of Simon Pagenaud and Anthony Bourdais.
Team manager Charley Lamm said, “Obviously you can’t be satisfied when you start a race from the first row and finish fourth and sixth. In today’s quite cool conditions we were struggling to find the grip we needed. Due to this we lost a lot of time, especially in the first two stints. Over the course of the race we got back into our rhythm, but by this time the gap to the front-runners was already too big. The only safety-car phase of the race turned out unfortunate for the no. 55 car. With the number 56 car we had to do an unscheduled stop.”
Two rounds remain in the ILMC. Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, which will be contested by BMW Team RLL, will run on October 1, and the finale at Zhuhai in China, which will be contested by Team Schnitzer, will run on November 13.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.orgBack to News